There are still twelve players from the Bundesliga that can dream of reaching the World Cup final as Argentina face Croatia on Tuesday night before Morocco come up against France on Wednesday.
With five players, Bayern Munich has the most representatives in the World Cup semi-finals. The Rekordmeister is not just the number one in the Bundesliga, there is also no other national team that has more semi-finalists in its ranks. The Bayern contingent is led by Dayot Upamecano who has played regularly throughout the tournament and has put in some very strong defensive performances, in particular against England on Saturday where the England attack, and Harry Kane in particular, were neutralised for large parts of the game.
Right-back Benjamin Pavard has only made one appearance from the start against Australia. Kingsley Coman has played in all five games, but came on in four as a substitute, starting only in the 1-0 loss to Tunisia.
In tomorrow’s semi-final between Morocco and France, the French players from the Munich contingent will be up against teammate Noussair Mazraoui. The right-back has been one of the mainstays of the defence of surprise package Morocco. The 25-year-old has performed well in the four games he was selected for, in particular in the last 16 game against Spain, although he was forced to miss the quarter-final due to a hip-flexor injury.
Amongst the participating players from other Bundesliga sides, France attacker Marcus Thuram of Borussia Mönchengladbach has played in three games and notably scored a crucial goal in the last 16 against Poland. Randal Kolo Muani of Eintracht Frankfurt in contrast has not been given the chance to make his mark, only coming on as a 90th minute substitute against Tunisia.
In the Croatia vs Argentina match, the Bavarian quintet is completed by right-back Josip Stanišić, who has not yet played for Croatia, neither has Frankfurt compatriot Kristijan Jakić. Andrej Kramarić of Hoffenheim however has been a regular starter and has already scored two goals. With Joško Gvardiol of RB Leipzig and Borna Sosa of Stuttgart, Croatia has a total of five Bundesliga players in the last four.
Exequiel Palacios of Bayer Leverkusen is the only player from Germany’s top tier in the Albiceleste side, the 24-year-old midfielder has made just two short appearances as a substitute against Mexico and Australia for Argentina.
The bookmakers are making France and Argentina favourites to reach the last two and Upamecano and Coman are expected to be amongst the players lined up for the €45m bounty that the winners of the tournament will be taking home in the final, which kicks-off at 16:00 (CET) on Sunday.
GGFN | Ben McFadyean